Sundance Institute Announces Native Filmmaking Highlighted At 2011 Sundance Film Festival

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PARK CITY, UT – Sundance Institute announced today details for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival’s presentation of films by Native filmmakers and the annual Native Forum. A gathering of Indigenous filmmakers from around the world, the Native Forum provides a platform for artists to share their expertise and knowledge through an Indigenous ShortsLab, panels, networking events and special screenings. This year’s Festival will provide a world stage for Native filmmakers whose works include seven short films and four feature films from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. In all, 11 Native communities will be represented:Tsilhqot’in, Métis, Ngāti Rangi, Atihaunui a Paparangi, Navajo Nation, Hopi, Laguna Pueblo, Iñupiaq, Taranaki/Ngati Tama Ngati Mutunga, Native Hawaiian and Māori. The 2011 Sundance Film Festival runs January 20-30 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

Following President and Founder Robert Redford’s original vision, Sundance Institute is committed to supporting Native American and Indigenous filmmaking. The Native American and Indigenous Program has made strategic investments to help emerging Native American filmmakers through the Native Lab Fellowship and collaborative investment in Indigenous filmmakers, along with the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program, Documentary Film Program and Sundance Film Festival.

In addition to the films, the Native Forum will feature events to celebrate and bring together the Native community at the Festival. Both the Native Forum Brunch on Monday, January 24 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, and the Native Forum Reception on Thursday, January 27 from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., are invite-only, and a ticket or RSVP are required to attend. The Native Forum will also host the Indigenous ShortsLab, a panel of Festival programmers and award-winning short filmmakers to discuss important questions, such as: What makes a good short film? How can it be financed? How are short films programmed at festivals? Why make a short film? The Indigenous ShortsLab will be held on Thursday, January 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the New Frontier 2011 MicroCinema, located at 1354 Park Avenue in Park City. A ticket is required for entrance.

“This year the Native Forum continues to raise the profile of Native Cinema and provides a stage for these talented filmmakers,” said N. Bird Runningwater, Associate Director, Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Initiative. “The Native Forum connects these filmmakers and their films with the marketplace of independent film. Through the Film Festival as well as the labs, workshops and other programs, Sundance Institute brings together the writers, directors and producers of Native and Indigenous Cinema as part of a global filmmaking community.”


?E?anx (The Cave) / Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Helen Haig-Brown [Tsilhqot’in]) – A hunter on horseback accidentally discovers a portal to the afterlife in this fantastical version of a true Tsilhqot’in story.

Short Film Competition

Choke / Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Michelle Latimer [Métis]) – Upon leaving his First Nations reserve, Jimmy encounters the lost souls of the city and is reminded that no matter how far you travel, you cannot escape who you are.

Short Film Competition

The Devil’s Double / Belgium (Director: Lee Tamahori [Māori] Screenwriter: Michael Thomas) – An extraordinary chapter in recent history providing a chilling vision of the House of Saddam comes to life through the eyes of the man who knew too much. Cast: Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier, Mimoun Oaissa, Raad Rawi, Philip Quast.


Ebony Society / Aotearoa-New Zealand (Director and Screenwriter: Tammy Davis [Ngāti Rangi & Atihaunui a Paparangi]) – One night out stealing; two boys learn a lesson.

Short Film Competition

GRAB / USA (Director: Billy Luther [Navajo, Hopi, Laguna Pueblo]) – Three families in the Laguna Pueblo tribe prepare for Grab Day, when they throw groceries from a rooftop to the community waiting below – an annual community-wide prayer of abundance, thanks and renewal. Documentary, narrated by Parker Posey.

Native Showcase

Mad Bastards / Australia (Director: Brendan Fletcher; Screenwriters: Brendan Fletcher in collaboration with Dean Daley-Jones, Greg Tait and John Watson) – In a frontier town of northern Australia’s Kimberley Region, an urban street warrior meets his match in a local cop. Performances and stories from real people in Kimberley are woven through the music of legendary Broome musicians, The Pigram Brothers. Cast: Dean Daley-Jones, Greg Tait, John Watson, Ngaire Pigram, Lucas Yeeda.

World Cinema Dramatic Competition

On the Ice / USA (Director and screenwriter: Andrew Okpeaha MacLean [Iñupiaq]) – On the snow-covered Arctic tundra, two teenagers try to get away with murder. Cast: Josiah Patkotak, Frank Qutuq Irelan, Teddy Kyle Smith, Adamina Kerr, Sierra Jade Sampson.

U.S. Dramatic Competition

Redemption / Aotearoa-New Zealand (Director: Katie Wolfe [Taranaki/Ngati Tama Ngati Mutunga]; Co-Screenwriters: Tim Balme, Renae Maihi [Nga Puhi/Ngati Hine, Te Arawa/Ngati Wakaue], and Katie Wolfe based on the short story by Phil Kawana [Ngaruahinerangi, Ngati Ruanui, Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Rangitane]) – A boy. A girl. A step too far.

Short Film Competition

The Rocket Boy / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Donavan Seschillie [Navajo Nation]) – A young boy’s limitless imagination creates a dilemma between reality and dreams.

Short Film Competition

Stones / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Ty Sanga [Native Hawaiian]) – Set in the ancient times in the islands of Hawai’i, a forlorn woman living in isolation with her husband meets a child from a nearby village and contemplates whether she should bring her into her mystical world.

Short Film Competition

Wapawekka / Canada (Director and Screenwriter: Danis Goulet [Métis]) – A final visit to their isolated cabin in northern Canada reveals the inter-generational rift between Josh and his traditional Cree father.

Short Film Competition

Festival Sponsors

The 2011 Sundance Film Festival sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors-Entertainment Weekly, HP, Acura, Sundance Channel and Chase SapphireSM; Leadership Sponsors-Bing™, Canon, DIRECTV, Honda, Southwest Airlines and YouTube™; Sustaining Sponsors-FilterForGood®, a partnership between Brita® and Nalgene®, L’Oréal Paris, Stella Artois®, Timberland, and Trident Vitality™. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations will defray costs associated with the 10-day Festival and the nonprofit Sundance Institute’s year-round programs for independent film and theatre artists. In return, sponsorship of the preeminent Festival provides these organizations with global exposure, a platform for brand impressions and unique access to Festival attendees.

About Sundance Film Festival

Supported by the nonprofit Sundance Institute, the Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most ground-breaking films of the past two decades, including sex, lies, and videotape, Maria Full of Grace, The Cove, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Precious, Trouble the Water and Napoleon Dynamite and, through its New Frontier initiative, has brought the cinematic works of media artists including Isaac Julian, Doug Aitken, Pierre Huyghe, Jennifer Steinkamp and Matthew Barney.

Sundance Institute

Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America.

Media Contacts:

Kelly Frey


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